Iceland's Met Office has raised the level of risk of the Bárðarbunga volcano system erupting to orange, raising fears of potential widespread flight disruption such as that seen following the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
The colour code is the second highest in the range and explaining its decision to up the level of risk issued to the aviation industry in a statement, the country’s Met Office said there were “strong indications of ongoing magma movement”. Following “intense seismic activity” recorded over the weekend officials highlighted that there had been an M4 earthquake – the strongest in the region since 1996.
The Met Office added: "As evidence of magma movement shallower than 10km (6.2 miles) implies increased potential of a volcanic eruption, the Bardarbunga aviation colour code has been changed to orange. "Presently there are no signs of eruption, but it cannot be excluded that the current activity will result in an explosive sub-glacial eruption, leading to an outburst flood and ash emission.
“The situation is monitored closely." On the situation the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offered the following advice on its website: “The National Police Commissioner has declared a Civil Protection Uncertainty phase due to increased activity in the Bárðabunga volcano in Vatnajökull glacier in the South East of Iceland.
“Several hundred minor earthquakes have been detected east of Bárðarbunga and around Kistufell. The mountain roads F88 and F910 remain closed. You should monitor Icelandic Met Office reports, keep your mobile phone switched on, and follow the advice of the Icelandic emergency services.”
The FCO also advises travellers to visit the following websites to get the most up –to-date information: Icelandic Meteorological Office, Icelandic Civil Protection Authority - This also includes health advice. Institute of Earth Science, UK Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, If you are heading off on holiday in the coming weeks or months, it is important to organise comprehensive travel insurance before you head off.
Date Created: 21/08/2014